I'm most recently a writer. In the six plus decades of my life, I've been a wife, mother, grandmother, Jill of all trades though mistress of but a few, and most of the time pretty content with my lot. As a much younger person, I believed I was called to write, but life and living distracted me for most of those decades. An unwilling transplant from the South, twenty years ago I unintentionally landed in the geographical center of the US. Writing came about in part due to the unwillingness, I expect. When caring for family, gardening, and renovating a century-old house failed to provide sufficient creative outlets, I turned to the one thing I always intended to do. Eight titles later, I'm grateful I found myself while Lost in the Plains!
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Not that we had any great expectation of John actually walking out of the doctor's office. As we sat in the waiting room, a young woman, obviously a patient who had cleared that final hurdle, bolted from the examination area and ran toward the elevator. Her joy was a sight to behold, barely contained as she danced in place with a thousand megawatt smile on her face. Every person in that waiting room, many from wheelchairs or clutching walkers or canes, shared in her celebration of the simple freedom to move without assistance or pain. As the moment passed, John turned to me and said "I don't expect I'll be doing that today."
Still, we had hoped for a crumb. Just bearing weight on that beleaguered leg would have sent us home with something to work on. New exercises, a change in regimen, maybe an order for physical therapy. It was not to be. The Xrays revealed a fuzzy spec at one corner of the fracture, which the doctor described as an attempt at healing. Eight more weeks of assisted transfers and the wheelchair. That will take us to the first anniversary of this new normal. A sobering thought.
It takes a bit, after that kind of news, to look beyond, to find another hope to grab onto, to dig deeper and resolve to keep climbing. As we started the three hour drive home, we began to cautiously voice our thoughts of "what now."
The mutual conclusion was that life must go on. We can't afford to spend any more idle time waiting for things to change. This is what we have now, for we know not how long. "What now" is whatever we try to make it.
The first thing both of us decided was that no matter the condition of his leg, John can still sing. He's
been singing all his life in choirs, choruses, and on the musical theater stage. He's been a very active member of a local choral group for most of our years in Kansas. It's going to take more than this to sideline him now. Music is for John a lifelong passion. He has a masters and a PhD to prove it. But more than that, he has a head and heart filled with song. On our wall hangs a plaque which reads "Music is the "temple" (in Hebrew) of the mind." It was inspired by a dream he had and says everything about the nature of this man, what moves and sustains him. So he will sing.
We moved on to other possibilities. A Bible study group meeting one afternoon a week at the church is certainly doable. The church choir is too. Evening strolls when the weather cools down a bit, maybe a restaurant meal now and then.
One of our major limitations is really mine. That wheelchair is heavy and I'm not a big, strong person. I'm a small, aging woman with a chronic bad back and arthritis. I spent some time working with the #@%! thing, trying to find a better way. And I did! No longer stowed in the trunk of the car, it now rides in the back seat behind me. There are scant fractions of inches to spare, but nonetheless, it fits! Much easier than hefting it up to the trunk and after several attempts, I even found a way to make it do most of the work itself. Mind over matter, a little engineering finesse, and those heavy wheels are more help than hindrance. Never underestimate the creativity of a small, stubborn woman.
Are we still disappointed? Of course we are. But after the initial blow, what is there to do but take a breath, say a prayer, and dig a little deeper? John will sing. I will write. We'll live the best life we can and keep hoping for the day when things are easier. He may never "run to the elevator," but, one way or another, we'll keep trying to get where we're meant to go.